Harry Hunt shines on IRC Super 2000 debut

Harry Hunt shines on IRC Super 2000 debut

16.10.2012: Harry Hunt Sanremo Rally review London-based rally driver Harry Hunt made an excellent debut in a four-wheel

Harry Hunt Sanremo Rally review
 




London-based rally driver Harry Hunt made an excellent debut in a four-wheel drive, two-litre Super 2000 car on the Sanremo Rally in Italy: one of the classic rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, run on mountain roads above the coastal resort of Sanremo.
 

For this event, the 24-year-old stepped up to a Peugeot 207 S2000: the top category in the all-action series. Having previously been acquainted with the car on a practice event in France, the Mont Blanc Rally where he finished third in class, he continued his learning curve in Sanremo.
 

The result was beyond expectations. Only two unlucky punctures – costing him at least two minutes each – meant that he finished 14th, but had it not been for the time lost he would have finished comfortably within the top eight, scoring points on his Super 2000 IRC debut.
 

As it was, his stage times were right up there with drivers who were vastly more experienced. Harry proved himself capable of setting top-five times, beating several local asphalt specialists on their home territory. On all the stages where he was not affected by punctures, his stage times were always within the top 10.
 

As well as a new car, he was also competing with a new co-driver, as Australian Dale Moscatt stood in for the injured Robbie Durant. Sanremo is one of the most demanding asphalt events of the entire championship, with twisty stages, low-grip roads, variable surfaces and changeable weather. On top of that, the rally also featured arguably the most grueling special stage in the entire Intercontinental Rally Challenge: the 44-kilometres of Ronde, run entirely at night.
 

With damp and slippery roads throughout the first day of the 10-stage event, conditions were hardly ideal for Harry to make his debut. Nonetheless he gave an excellent account of himself, with his performance suggesting that he had been driving the car for several months rather than just two rallies. Harry’s car was run by Kronos: the same team that took French superstar Sebastien Loeb to the drivers’ World Championship in 2006.
 

“I absolutely loved it, although the Super 2000 car is definitely the most physical car I have ever driven,” said Harry after the event. “With a new car, a new co-driver and a tricky event, I just concentrated on driving within my limits and not taking any risks. The two punctures we experienced were a bit of a strange thing:


 I may have clipped the side of the road for the first one, but the second one is completely inexplicable: one possibility is that a tyre valve failed. In any case, I’m not too bothered: the objective here was to learn a bit more about this type of car and see if we could set competitive times with it while making sure we got to the finish. I’m absolutely delighted that we achieved all those goals.”
 

Harry’s team manager Iwan Evans added: “For Harry to set the times that he did without pushing too hard is a sign of the confidence that he built up in just a short space of time with the car, and very encouraging for the future.


The car came back without a scratch on it and he managed to learn a lot, while assessing various options for the future and the next step in his career. That was our mission in Sanremo: now we focus on the final round of the IRC in Cyprus next month and trying to win the two-wheel drive championship.”
 

Harry will be back in his regular Citroen DS3 R3T for the Cyprus Rally, having not scored any two-wheel drive championship points in Sanremo as a result of moving up to a higher category. Consequently he has an 11-point deficit in the standings – but with double points on offer on the rough and long gravel events, there is still everything to play for.
 

The Cyprus Rally takes place from 2-4 November.
 

Rachel Cavers- also photo

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16.10.2012 / MaP

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